Officer won't face charges in Alabama mall shooting

Emantic Fitzgerald Bradford, Jr. | Photo: MGN Online

An Alabama police officer will not face charges for killing a man he mistook for the gunman in a mall shooting, the state's attorney general announced Tuesday.

Posted: Feb 5, 2019 3:31 PM
Updated: Feb 5, 2019 4:08 PM

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — An Alabama police officer will not face charges for killing a man he mistook for the gunman in a mall shooting, the state's attorney general announced Tuesday.

His announcement drew outrage from the slain man's family, who said the officer jumped to conclusions when he saw a young black man with a gun.

An officer shot 21-year-old Emantic "EJ" Bradford, Jr. while responding to an earlier shooting on Thanksgiving night at a mall in Hoover, Alabama.

Attorney General Steve Marshall announced Tuesday that his investigation concluded "the officer did not commit a crime" and that he would not present the case to a grand jury. Marshall said he considered the matter closed.

A 26-page report released by Marshall's office said the officer mistakenly believed Bradford fired the earlier shots. But the report also said the Hoover officer, whose name has not been released, was still justified in shooting him because of the threat he posed.

The report said the officer saw Bradford running toward the scene with a gun and believed he was trying to kill the wounded shooting victim or harm others. The shooting victim was actually Bradford's friend, with whom he had been at the mall that evening.

"A reasonable person could have assumed that the only person with a gun who was running toward the victim of a shooting that occurred just three seconds earlier fired the shots," the report found.

The report also stated that Bradford, who had a gun drawn, "posed an immediate deadly threat to persons in the area."

Marshall released two 10-second clips from surveillance cameras at the shopping mall. The video shows an officer shooting Bradford from behind as Bradford is running. An autopsy found that Bradford was shot three times: once in back of the head, once in his neck and once in his lower back, according to the report.

The report said that the officer told investigators that he did not turn on his body camera from standby mode because there was "no time."

The report also said it was "unclear" if verbal commands were issued for Bradford to stop running. The officer told investigators he did not issue verbal commands, although two witnesses said they heard them, the report stated.

Bradford's family reacted with anger to the attorney general's conclusions.

"The attorney general, he's in bed with Hoover. Bottom line. He covered it up. He sanitized it just so the officer could get off with murdering my son," Emantic Bradford Sr. told news reporters.

Ben Crump, an attorney representing the family, said his clients "will have their day in court."

"The police shot, we believe, because they feared a black man with a gun," Crump said.

Crump said the video shows Bradford "did nothing wrong" and that the young man drew his gun to protect his friends.

"He was really the hero in all of this," Bradford's mother, April Pipkins, told reporters.

The officer-involved shooting sparked weeks of protests during the Christmas shopping season in the city heavily dependent on retail sales. The decision by the attorney general clearing the officer of wrongdoing reignited calls for protests.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 314710

Reported Deaths: 7254
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto21646260
Hinds20369416
Harrison17949309
Rankin13643278
Jackson13450246
Madison10113217
Lee9986174
Jones8384163
Forrest7689152
Lauderdale7198240
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Washington5341134
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Monroe4115133
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Hancock379586
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Sunflower336290
Tate334784
Pike3327105
Scott316274
Alcorn313368
Yazoo311770
Itawamba300577
Copiah297465
Coahoma295579
Simpson295388
Tippah288768
Adams286982
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Marion269380
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Clay185554
Stone182833
Tallahatchie178941
Clarke178080
Calhoun170932
Yalobusha164638
Smith162534
Walthall134245
Greene130633
Lawrence128724
Montgomery127142
Noxubee126734
Perry126338
Amite123142
Carroll121829
Webster114532
Jefferson Davis107133
Tunica105726
Claiborne102430
Benton100025
Humphreys96733
Kemper95828
Franklin83923
Quitman81116
Choctaw76418
Wilkinson67531
Jefferson65728
Sharkey50217
Issaquena1686
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 537813

Reported Deaths: 11024
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson791691529
Mobile41177808
Madison35002507
Tuscaloosa25871454
Shelby25076249
Montgomery24549591
Baldwin21290309
Lee15946171
Calhoun14556319
Morgan14364280
Etowah13890353
Marshall12262223
Houston10602282
Elmore10115206
Limestone10031151
St. Clair9890245
Cullman9730194
Lauderdale9449243
DeKalb8853188
Talladega8325176
Walker7259277
Autauga6971108
Jackson6830112
Blount6750139
Colbert6317134
Coffee5546119
Dale4869113
Russell444338
Chilton4343113
Franklin426282
Covington4138118
Tallapoosa4040152
Escambia394577
Chambers3581123
Dallas3564153
Clarke351361
Marion3137101
Pike311977
Lawrence302298
Winston275673
Bibb263064
Geneva252577
Marengo249664
Pickens234862
Barbour231956
Hale223677
Butler217869
Fayette212462
Henry189644
Cherokee184345
Randolph182042
Monroe178140
Washington167639
Macon160750
Clay156957
Crenshaw153357
Cleburne149241
Lamar143035
Lowndes139653
Wilcox127430
Bullock123041
Conecuh110629
Coosa108928
Perry107826
Sumter104932
Greene92634
Choctaw61024
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